Cars are one of those necessary evils so ingrained into our daily lives that it is difficult to imagine them as the potential death traps that they are. Yikes! While some things on the road are out of your control, there are ways you can prevent the worst from falling upon your family. Here are 5 ways you can prepare your family for car accidents.
Talk to Your Children About Cars and Car Accidents
No parent wants to imagine their child in danger. As our children get older and their independence grows, the list of the ways in which the world can harm them does, too. But one of the most dangerous situations we can put our children in is as mundane as strapping them into the backseat of our cars.
Children need to know the power and danger that come with operating motor vehicles. They will undoubtedly be involved in an accident at some point in their lives, whether as a driver or a passenger. Perhaps they will only ever experience fender benders, but there is always the possibility that your child may be involved in a traumatic accident (god forbid!).
While hoping for the best, we should always prepare for the worst. Sit your children down and give them an age appropriate discussion regarding cars and car safety. Impress upon your children from a young age the importance of wearing seatbelts, and why proper posture in the car is important to keeping themselves safe.
Older children and teens ought to expose to in depth conversations surrounding car safety and management. As children age in the digital era, their reliance and attachment to their cellphones and other devices will likely become more pronounced. Texting while driving and other distractions can easily turn deadly on the road. You should be impressing the dangers of distracted driving upon your children from a very young age.
Learn Your State Laws
To ensure that you are financially prepared in the case of a devastating accident, you should be intimately familiar with both your car insurance policy and your state’s laws regarding accidents. Laws regarding insurance policies vary from state to state, and if you often travel across state lines for work you might want to consider learning those state laws, too.
For example, if you live in a no fault state, you might want to consider investing in some more coverage for your personal vehicle. “Florida is a no-fault insurance state which means your insurance policy will pay for your damages and injury in an accident — but only if you have sufficient coverage for the accident,” says SteinLaw, an Aventura car accident lawyer.
If you balk at the higher premiums that come with more comprehensive coverage, do the math. If you or your spouse were to get into an accident and had to miss work, how long could you afford to go without that money? Keep tabs on the age and safety features of your car, as well as your car’s general value on the market. Even with safety at the forefront of your mind, you can act frugally. Discuss with your partner and decide on how much you are willing to further invest in your vehicle should something happen to it.
Create a Preparedness Fund
Of course, there are some things insurance just can’t cover. There are so many costly aspects that come with owning and maintaining a motor vehicle that it can be difficult to manage them all. Sit down and calculate the amount and cost of work done on your vehicle each year. Then set aside a year’s worth of cash dedicated solely to the upkeep of your car.
This preparedness fund will come in handy if you ever need last minute maintenance or repairs on your vehicle, should the worst case scenario come to pass. Even if it does not, you will be glad to have that money budgeted away. You can also use your squirreled away cash as a means of affording renting a car while yours is in the shop for repairs or regular maintenance.
The knowledge that you have some spare cash dedicated to your vehicle will take all the stress out of car ownership. Preparedness goes a long way for good mental health and preventing stress headaches—trust me on this one!
Preventative Car Maintenance
Of course, the state of other people’s cars is out of your hands, but you can always be sure to maintain your car at its peak performance. A car which is properly maintained, regardless of age, size, or other factors, is the safest car to be in when it comes to accidents.
You want your car to be able to react as quickly as possible in the face of adverse circumstances. Ensure that your tires have proper tread and are not worn out and change your tires for weather appropriateness seasonally. Further, keep an eye on whether your tires are wearing out evenly. You might be due for a wheel alignment, which should be conducted at least every two to three years.
Even if your state does not mandate annual inspections, if you are unable to conduct a thorough review of your cars state and performance, you should consider having your car inspected by a knowledgeable professional. Of course, go to a mechanic you trust, so that you do not have to worry about being sold unnecessary bells and whistles that don’t actually impact your safety!
If you have not already, you, your spouse, and any teenaged drivers in your home should take a defensive driving course. While standard driving education courses expound the basic rules of the road, defensive driving courses teach drivers how to drive proactively.
While you can’t control the actions of others, as previously discussed, you can learn to identify warning signs of danger in other drivers and react accordingly. Defensive driving courses will also shine a lot on bad habits you might have accumulated over the years without even recognizing them as dangerous. Plus, a lot of insurance companies will cut deals for drivers on their plans who enroll in defensive driving courses. Score!
Teenagers especially ought to familiarize themselves with driving patterns associated with drunk or otherwise impaired drivers.